The Department of Water and Sanitation has called for a speedy resolution to protest action at the King Cetshwayo District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.
The protests have resulted in water disruptions in many local municipalities.
The call follows community protests on Monday due to disagreements between the King Cetshwayo District Municipality and some community members.
The department said that it understands that the community members had their employment terminated when the municipality ended its relationship with a contractor that was rendering water support services to the municipality.
Head of the department in KwaZulu-Natal, Ashley Starkey said the disruptions happened at a time when COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing. Starkey said communities should not be left without water.
“This is a time when people should constantly wash their hands with water and soap to minimise the spread of Coronavirus,” Starkey said.
The protests have already resulted in the closure of roads and destruction of property in many local municipalities under the King Cetshwayo District.
If allowed to continue, Starkey warned that the protests will also pose a threat to the availability of water to strategic industries and communities in Richards Bay.
He also noted that the department’s strategic infrastructure in the area has been affected, which will result in the disruptions of water supply to the communities.
“The Department of Water and Sanitation is concerned that the strategic infrastructure, particularly of the Madungela and Mkhalazi pump stations are affected. These pumps are operated by Mhlathuze Water to supply water to the Goedetrouw Dam and have also been affected by the protests as employees are being blocked from accessing these sites.”
“The Department of Water and Sanitation therefore calls for a speedy resolution to the disagreements so that the supply of water is not hindered any longer than it already has,” Starkey said.